Just like last year (see here and here), lots of herring arrived to Kvaløya in November – and where there’s herring, there’s whales 🙂 I had been waiting for an opportunity to go whale watching, but we’ve had a lot of bad weather lately. When I finally had a day off on the one day with nice weather in between two storms, I knew I had to use it 🙂 Luckily, others agreed and I was able to join a group who had rented a fishing boat (including a fisherman 😉 ) from Tromvik, about an hour from Tromsø. Just a shame Paul wasn’t able to escape from work, but good weather doesn’t necessarily wait for the weekend 😉
We left Tromsø at 07:15, painfully early, but it was so worth it! It was magical to see Kaldfjorden filled with fishing boats, lots of little lights on the dark fjord. Near Tromvik we spotted a group of about 6 humpback whales feeding just off the coast – a good sign!
We set off when it was still quite dark, but the moon was lighting up the landscape. It didn’t take long before we spotted whales, and to my delight, they were orca’s!! I had never seen orca’s before, so I was really hoping we’d see some.
It was a group with a young one, and they were so beautiful. They swim extremely fast, and their white spots are very pretty. They soon swam off, but we were still surrounded by 6-7 humpback whales, jumping and diving all around us.
The light was incredible that day, I think I enjoyed the light on the surrounding mountains and the colours of the sky and clouds just as much as all the whales we saw 🙂
I managed to get this panorama shot of Vengsøya, with the pretty line of clouds and a pale moon.
It was slowly getting lighter, and we enjoyed watching the whales dive around us.
At times, the humpback whales work together to chase the herring to a shallow part of the fjord (sometimes almost ON the beach – it’s incredible how close to land they come, lots of people were whale watching from the shore and their views were nearly as good as ours). After chasing the herring, they all come up at the same time for a feeding frenzy – an incredible sight to witness!
Meanwhile, behind us, the line of clouds was colouring a deep pink…
We also encountered some kayakers, some got *really* close to the whales. They say the whales have control and there hasn’t been any accidents, but I don’t think I would feel save in an unstable kayak when the whales pop up right next to you!
We were on a Norwegian fishing boat (called a sjark), which was a real luxury. We got hot water for coffee, and when I was suffering from frozen toes, I could sit right next to the stove beneath the deck, and warm up 🙂
We met a group of kayakers from the university, who were having some great experiences kayaking close to the whales. The fishing boat in the photo below came to pick something up from our captain 😉 the sun on the mountain behind is, was the last we saw of the sun for this year – no more sunlight for the next 2 months…
The students came to chat with us for a while. There was lots of activity at sea that day, several people were out whale watching, but there were also lots of fishing boats fishing for herring.
Another fishing boat heading out while we made our way back to the harbour in Tromvik. The map shows where the photos in this post have been taken (my new camera has GPS – I love it :D). Lots of people were watching from parking lots just past Grøtfjord, and several places between there and Tromvik – even if you’re not able to join/hire a boat, it’s an impressive sight from the road 🙂
I came back exhausted after the early start and several hours outside in a freezing wind, but so happy about the amazing day at sea 🙂